Welcome to my next trip report, primarily covering travel on Qatar Airways, in particular in their new Qsuites business class.
Planning the trip
In 2017 we saw five exciting new premium cabin products introduced — Emirates’ new first class, Qatar’s new business class, Singapore’s new first class, Singapore’s new business class, and Delta’s new business class. I fell behind on reviewing these products in 2017, so my goal for the first few weeks of 2018 was to review all five of them.
I just wrapped up the trip report for my journey in Swiss business class, Air India business class, Emirates new first class, and TAP business class. After that I had about a week before my next big journey, so I was determined to try Qatar Airways’ new Qsuites business class, since it would be the only time I have available to do so, and it’s the only one of the above products I didn’t yet have booked.
Nowadays Qatar Airways makes some award space available in business class on Qsuites configured planes. However, there wasn’t any award space for the dates or routes I needed, and based on my schedule I knew I needed to review Qsuites now, or else it would be at least two more months. Fortunately Qatar Airways tends to have reasonably good paid business class fares. Since my previous trip had me ending in New York, I started searching for the best paid business class on Qatar Airways out of New York. I searched every single destination, and for my dates the cheapest fare was to Yerevan, Armenia, for $4,360.
I knew that Qatar Airways participated in the Amex International Airline Program, which is available to those with The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
So I phoned up Amex, and they quoted me a price of $3,610 for the same itinerary, meaning I’d save $750 by booking with them. That’s a significant discount. Qatar does sometimes have much cheaper business class fares (like $2,500 to Yerevan pre-discount), but for my dates this was as good as it gets.
The routing I booked was as follows, and would have me flying Qsuites in both directions between New York and Doha:
1/09 QR702 New York to Doha departing 9:05PM arriving 5:35PM (+1 day)
1/10 QR285 Doha to Yerevan departing 8:40PM arriving 12:50AM (+1 day)
1/13 QR286 Yerevan to Doha departing 3:25AM arriving 5:25AM
1/13 QR701 Doha to New York departing 8:00AM arriving 2:15PM
On top of that I’d earn 18,050 Membership Rewards points (since The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 5x points on airfare), and would also be earning quite a few American miles, including:
- 36,053 AAdvantage redeemable miles
- 23,434 AAdvantage elite qualifying miles
- 3,516 AAdvantage elite qualifying dollars
This trip also started the same day that I flew TAP Air Portugal from Lisbon to Newark, so I landed in the afternoon and then headed to JFK, with just enough time to spare to make my flight. Two transatlantic flights in a day is crazy, even by my standards.
I was supposed to have 50 hours on the ground in Yerevan. However, as you can see I was landing in the middle of the night and departing in the middle of the night, so decided to book three nights so I’d be able to get some rest. Fortunately Yerevan is a fairly inexpensive hotel market, so that wouldn’t be too costly.
It seems like the Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan is generally regarded as one of the best hotels in the city. The rate was only about $70 per night, so I decided to book that.
Starwood is opening a Luxury Collection hotel in the city in a couple of months, which should be a great new option.
I ended up reviewing the Hyatt Place Yerevan as well. That’s because my flight was delayed overnight, and since I had already checked out of the Marriott, I figured I might as well check out the Hyatt Place, which was reasonably priced.
January and the first half of February have been a crazy, whirlwind period for me in terms of flying. I’m logging well over 100,000 flown miles in the first six weeks of the year, which is a lot even by my standards. I’m looking forward to a much slower second half of February and March. At least I’m saying that as of now, though who knows what I’ll end up planning. 😉
Not only am I pleased to have experienced Qsuites, but I was also happy that the trip took me to Armenia, which has been on my radar for a while. I had a very nice time in Yerevan, and would love to return again sometime.